Governor of BOL, Sonexay Sithphaxay, recently signed a two-page BOL decision regarding the adjustment to the bank's reserve requirement.
Under the decision, the reserve requirement will increase from 3 percent to 5 percent for the Lao currency kip, but will remain at 5 percent for foreign currencies.
The decision is aimed at ensuring the financial liquidity of the banking system and minimizing the risks that could impact the banking sector, while regulating and sustaining the quality of credit to reflect the reality of the macroeconomic situation.
Raising the reserve requirement means that the central bank can reduce money supply, which should enable it to better control money supply and curb inflation, as well as respond to the nation's economic woes.
Over the past two years, the central bank has made two adjustments to its reserve requirement level in response to the changing needs of the country's fiscal situation.
In March 2020, the BOL cut the kip reserve requirement from 5 percent to 4 percent, and from 10 percent to 8 percent for foreign currencies.
In 2021, the bank made another change to its reserve requirement by reducing it from 4 percent to 3 percent for kip and from 8 percent to 5 percent for foreign currencies.
With regard to the policy rate change, the bank increased the base interest rate for loans of less than seven days from 3 percent to 3.1 percent, for loans issued in kip.
In addition, the bank cancelled the interest rate on 7-14 day loans and the interest rate on loans issued for periods of 14 days to one year.
The bank said the adjustment to the base interest rate would serve as an important reference for commercial banks in following the new policy rate.
In theory, if a central bank increases the base rate, commercial banks also hike their interest rates and borrowing becomes more expensive.
In March 2020, the BOL lowered its base interest rate for loans of less than seven days from 4 percent to 3 percent, for 7-14 day loans from 5 percent to 4 percent, and for 14-day to one-year loans from 10 percent to 9 percent.
According to the report, the main challenges facing the government are the continuing depreciation of the kip and mounting debts, which are causing severe economic damage.